MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Bring out your inner genius, because April is Autism Awareness Month.
A new local nonprofit called Ausome Foundation provides art and music therapy resources to help kids on the spectrum shine.
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CBS4 spotlights two-star college students designing a shoe just for you by being awesome.
Ten-year-old Antonio’s passion shines through in the design of his shoe. “It’s a volcano,” he said, showcasing his cool shoe design. I didn’t finish it,” Antonio said.
Antonio is a student at Golden Horizon Academy in Cutler Bay. It is a private school that offers comprehensive programs for children diagnosed on the spectrum.
His mother, Dominiece Cox, sees a huge transformation in him since signing up less than a year ago.
“He came out of his shell,” Cox said. “He’s not shy. It’s not the kid hiding in the corner.
On Wednesday morning, Antonio and his classmate, Juan Pablo, took the time to sketch and paint four shoe designs for BlanX, a shoe company in South Florida.
They partner with nonprofits and influencers to sell kicks to benefit specific charities.
These cool kicks, when sold online, will help the Ausome Foundation. “It just breaks my heart,” said Alexandra Garcia, chief operating officer of the Ausome Foundation, a new nonprofit that provides financial assistance to low-income families with children on the spectrum.
It also provides resources to schools for music therapy and art therapy programs.
“It’s amazing how music and art motivate them to be themselves and express their feelings,” Garcia said.
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Her family knows firsthand how music and art transform those on the spectrum. “I have three autistic cousins,” Garcia added. “It inspired us to be the change.”
These programs open space for students like Antonio and Juan Pablo to communicate and shine through music or art. Both, star students, love art and finally love school.
Juan Pablo’s mother said her son was bullied and hated going to school before coming to Golden Horizon Academy.
“He feels very empowered,” Yeseylin Ruiz said through an interpreter of her son. “He feels very included.”
Antonio’s mother tells CBS4 that her biggest fear was that her son would shut down forever. Now he is thriving.
“I came here smiling and can’t wait to get out of the car,” Cox added. “It lights me up inside.”
Garcia and the Ausome Foundation hope that no child is left behind and that the full spectrum shines.
The Town of Cutler Bay recently awarded the Ausome Foundation a grant to provide art and music therapy resources to Golden Horizon Academy.
It’s a start for what Garcia hopes will help many more families, students and schools in South Florida.
For more information on where you can buy Juan Pablo and Antonio’s shoes, click here.
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The shoes will be available for pre-sale in about two weeks.